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According to Thomas Jefferson, medical education was to become part of the curriculum and of the general education at the University of Virginia. A "School of Anatomy and Medicine" was one of the original eight schools authorized by an Act of the General Assembly, passed January 25, 1819, and opened on March 7, 1825.

Unlike many other medical schools of that era, the Medical School was always an integral part of the University, and the professors received full-time appointments. During the early years, the curriculum for the medical degree consisted of a graduated course entailing the most thorough theoretical instruction, except for the anatomical lessons of the dissecting room. Consequently, many medical students took additional degrees in schools in large cities where they obtained the necessary clinical training. The bias against clinical instruction was based, in part, on a Jeffersonian concept which stressed the teaching of medicine from a cultural rather than from a practical point of view.

Toward the end of the 19th century, many significant changes took place, resulting in a complete modernization of the School. Between 1892 and 1900, the medical curriculum was extended to four years. In 1899, funds were made available for the construction of the University Hospital, which was dedicated in 1901 and opened for patient use in 1902. It was the nucleus of the University of Virginia Hospital with over 600 beds which was completed in 1960.

The University of Virginia Hospital has come a long way since its beginnings as a 25-bed facility. Today, the Medical Center serves as one of the major acute-care referral institutions in central and western Virginia. It is the centerpiece of the Health System, which also includes a school of nursing, a major health sciences library, and a highly rated school of medicine.

The Medical Center comprises all of the direct patient care areas. The newest component is the University Hospital, which opened in 1989-90. The hospital and its adjoining Primary Care Center are linked to the old hospital, called the West Complex, located just across the street.

The Medical Center also includes the Children's Medical Center, the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center, the Private Clinics Building, and the affiliated Virginia Ambulatory Surgery Center. The Health Sciences Center also operates a number of other local clinics and treatment centers. Preventative and family care are available, along with the leading specialists associated with a major medical center.

Additional information about the School of Medicine can be found in the School of Medicine Record, which is available online at www.med.virginia.edu/medicine/catalog.
 
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McKim Hall, #800725
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Admissions: (434) 924-5571
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bab7g@virginia.edu

 

 

 

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